Heidi's Cauliflower Soup with Mustard Croutons

I'm an addict when it comes to buying cookbooks. I'm starting to run out of room on my kitchen shelves and I know I should probably stop making cookbook purchasesโ€ฆbut I had to have this one. Heidi Swanson's Super Natural Every Day made it to my apartment just before any cookbook-intervention could take place. Thank goodness!

Super Natural Every Day is fast becoming my favorite cookbook. Its recipes feature whole and natural ingredients, there's a focus on seasonal produce, and the photographs are great too. The instructions are straightforward and easy enough well, for every day. Iโ€™ve already posted the recipe for wild rice casserole, and below I included the recipe for Heidiโ€™s soup.  It was the dish that started off our dinner club and it set the perfect tone for the meal. Cauliflower soup with mustard croutons is rustic, flavorful, healthy and delicious. I top the bowl of soup with some croutons, a sprinkle of cheese and a drizzle of olive oil.  Enjoy!

Cauliflower Soup with Mustard Croutons (Courtesy of Heidi Swanson, Super Natural Every Day: Well-loved Recipes from My Natural Foods Kitchen)
Serves 4-6
The Croutons: (I had a lot of leftover croutons, so I put them in a Ball jar and used them in my daily salads.)
6-ounce chunk artisan whole wheat bread, torn into little pieces, less than an inch in size (I used French baguette)
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 1/2 tablespoons Dijon-style mustard
1/4teaspoon fine-grain sea salt
The Soup:
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, clarified butter or extra-virgin olive oil
2 shallots, chopped
1 yellow onion, chopped
Fine-grain sea salt
1 large potato, peeled and cut into tiny cubes
2 cloves garlic, chopped
3 1/2 cups of vegetable broth or water (I'll be posting my vegetable stock recipe next week. You can use a good quality store bought.  I always go with low-sodium broth if I don't have homemade in the freezer.)
12 ounces cauliflower, cut into small florets
2/3 cup/1.5 ounces freshly grated aged Cheddar cheese, plus more for topping
2 teaspoons Dijon-style mustard
Extra-virgin olive oil, to serve

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F with a rack in the middle of the oven.  
To make the croutons, put the torn bread in a large bowl. In a small saucepan, melt the butter over medium-high heat. Whisk the olive oil, mustard and salt into the butter and pour the mixture over the bread.  Toss well, then turn the bread onto a baking sheet.
Bake for 10 to 15 minutes, until the croutons are golden and crunchy. Flip them once or twice with a metal spatula along the way.

While the croutons are toasting, start the soup. Heat the butter in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Stir in the shallots, onion, and a big pinch of salt. Sautรฉ until the onions soften, a couple of minutes. Stir in the potato, cover, and cook for about 4 minutes, just long enough for the pieces to soften up a bit. Uncover, stir in the garlic, then the broth.  Bring to a boil, taste to make sure the potatoes are tender, and if they are, stir in the cauliflower.  (This took a little bit of time.)  Cook, covered, for about 3 to 5 minutes, just until the cauliflower is tender throughout.

Remove the plan from the heat and puree the soup with an immersion blender. Stir in half the Cheddar cheese and the mustard. Add more broth or water if you feel the need to thin the soup at all. Taste and add more salt, if needed.  Serve sprinkled with the remaining cheese, some croutons, and a drizzle of olive oil.